Officially screwed by WebSense

Officially Screwed is a website that exists to put forth a Conservative world view. It’s low on the totem pole in this genre and not part of the PMO ‘s funded Online Propaganda Effort. But occasionally they write about the CBC and now that CBCwatch is gone I take what I can get.

Now if you’re at work at the CBC and you clicked that link you saw that it’s blocked by WebSense, the company the CBC hires to keep it’s employees from surfing porn. Websense classifies Officially Screwed as “tasteless.”

If that’s a criterion for blocking websites at the CBC, I’m sure that the Tea Makers’ days are numbered.

I guess censoring tools like WebSense are a fact of life in modern corporate environments. Still, it was never properly explained to me why we needed it. Was it a pre-emptive measure, or were certain one-handed employees getting out of hand? And if they were, surely they were managers with the privacy of offices, not the open-concept rank-and-file? Why didn’t we just tell them to knock it off?

Some said we needed it to prevent people from surfing “illegal” websites.

I didn’t even know there were illegal websites.

And it’s true that journalists can get a free pass to look at everything, but the rest of us bloggers, researchers, editors, writers, actors, artists, producers, and payroll clerks at the CBC get our internet with all the tasteless filtered out.

Surely there’s a way to circumvent this tyranny? So I Googled and I was immediately plunged into a dark netherworld populated by horny high school students who NEED HLP RITE NOW PLS!! in skirting WebSense.

The discussion is lively. Most of it is blocked by WebSense itself, under the category of “proxy avoidance,” which leads me to believe that our teenage friends are on to something.

But in a pinch, you can try to Google the page you seek, and then click the link to the “cached” version, rather than the link to the page itself. Sometimes WebSense blocks this cached version, sometimes not. Similarly, you can try the WayBack machine.

If it’s pornography you desire, the WebSense puritans are of course American, so the rest of the world doesn’t exist for them. You can use this to your advantage. The Japanese make enough porn for anyone. For gambling, try the Chinese, although some knowledge of Cantonese would be helpful.

I don’t want to get thrown into proxy avoidance purgatory, so I’m not going to link to any of it. But a fine source of such links is the spam you get in Groupwise. These links, delivered to us each day by the millions, are not usually blocked.

So porn, you can get. Gambling, you can get.

Timely, relevant information? That’s a little harder to come by.

This is supposed to protect our fragile sensibilities and absolve the CBC of any responsibility. And while I can’t think of any reason why a payroll clerk would need to look at a Holocaust Denial website, that shouldn’t prevent anyone else from looking at one. This supposedly being a creative organization, we need to see anything and everything in order to make good creative choices.

This is a textbook case of how censorship gets out of hand. It starts off with a rational reason. A good reason. But the next thing you know, things like tasteless are banned, all for your protection, and all you can see is what they want you to see. How does that help public broadcasting?

Remember. The CBC owns your computer, and whatever you do on it is the CBC’s business. What with ATI coming this will be more and more apparent and you will definitely feel it.

This is why I never write any Tea Makers from inside the CBC. I was trained during the 2005 lockout, like a soldier who can’t take a piss anymore. I keep them all in my head. By the time I’m ready to write, I choose one and it comes out in one go.

Like Papillion, they can imprison your body. They can control your computer. They can keep your post it notes.

But your mind? It’s always yours.

9:42 am addendum to CBCers:
Officially Screwed has been officially unblocked.

13 comments:

  1. Anonymous
    Posted April 7, 2008 at 4:56 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    my mom works at CBC and I go to school. It is bloody hard for her to get a pass to go wherever and can take a long time to confirm and in school, websense bolcks about 30% of the pages I use for research, but, fortunately, websense is a terribly crappy censoring software and is easily avoidable. I once installed a software proxy one some computers at my school by bypassing its anti-install thingy and made the home page some shit that pissed of teachers lol. http://www.sureproxy.com (or maybe http://www.sureproxy.org) is good (www.proxy.org is a list of all web based proxies), but websense says that those sites are proxy avoidance. You can either do tha hard way and bump sites permanently if you know various coding things (and easier if you have admin password) or just typing “https://” instead of “http://” before a website adress seems to work. I can type “https://sureproxy.com” or “https://facebook.com” on my school computers and it’l load, but going through a proxy means you don’t have to type https:// all the time.
    The big problem is deepfreeze, a proram that blocks all downloads and installs. The best way to bypass it, it seems is hacking the admin password (various (sometimes complicated) ways to do this), or just look while he’s typing his pass. My school’s computers all had the same admin password and it was eeeaaasy. Thx for this!

  2. Anonymous
    Posted August 23, 2007 at 6:13 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    websense sucks..

    Get rid of this using the following URL

    “the proxie https://www.vtunnel.com works but you need to type it exactly like in did”

    Really it works for me..Thanks

  3. Ouimet
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 6:23 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan – for some reason, Raymi is not blocked. And she is definitely not safe for work this week.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 2:57 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece
  5. Anonymous
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 1:14 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    If I had Hustler on my desk, I’d get reprimanded, just like if I had Hustler on my screen.

    What would NOT happen is that I’d be outfitted with an electronic ankle bracelet that zapped me whenever I went into the newsstand magazine rack.

    There’s an enforceable rule against porn, and it should be enforced. You’re just doing toilet duty for supervisor who aren’t doing theirs.

    Oh, and how does Websense control desktop wallpaper, exactly? And does it read my e-mail, USB drives, CDs and DVDs and (gasp) floppies?

  6. Anonymous
    Posted July 20, 2007 at 10:05 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    (rant> Aigle here,

    Okay, I may be one of the very few who thinks Websense had been a Godsend in my job. You see, I’m one of the underpaid grunts that has to clean out the workstations if they get “compromised”. (we used to call it “toilet duty”.)

    If you threw an open copy of “Hustler” on my desk, do you not agree you should get reprimanded, in the least?.

    So, how is My having to go into a Control room and remove “Amputee sex site” pop-ups and home pages any different?

    That is not a made up example. I’ve also had to remove rotting, maggot ridden-cadaver images off desktop wallpapers…all on public workstations so there is nobody accountable.

    Sadly, this was not rare pre-Websense. Not everybody is well-adjusted in here and there are some extremely different views on “tasteless”.

    Home computers are your friend.
    (/rant>

  7. Anonymous
    Posted July 19, 2007 at 1:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve always found this heavyhanded and unecessary. If people are doing stupid shit online at work, deal with them individually. It’s just lazy administration.

    I still run into the “tasteless” filter. Who the hell cares if I’m looking at something tasteless?

  8. Anonymous
    Posted July 19, 2007 at 10:22 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    When companies like this first started hooking up the internet to desks, managers went apeshit. They didn’t want people wasting their time on websites when they should be working. Most of these people had tvs on their desks, and phones too.

    The point is that all of these are management issues. Employees screwing around online? Pay attention to them and get them busy. Discipline them. Worried about porn? Make a rule about looking at porn at work (sigh, sadly that would be needed) and enforce it.

    They still block video ports on the firewall for chat, and file transfers. To anyone with any skills it’s a simple workaround, but each of these steps meant to…….protect (?) employees and the company actually just require more time wasted.

    It’s management by software, and not only is it pathetic, it doesn’t work.

  9. Dr Satori
    Posted July 19, 2007 at 5:23 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This is on the QT – that’s why I’m posting it on the net – so CBC types can’t find it – but I was walking past a darkened meeting room and heard whispers of plans to contract pencils from any supplier, such that said pencils supplied, would be incapable of penning (he he) naughty words. On the bright side, this might improve spelling on CBC sites – which ironically offers English as a second language lessons – where was that in the CBC mandate?!, and how do private language schools without government cash inflows feel about it – but I digress (I know CBC types like superfluous speech and writing) – where ‘bob’ has appeared as ‘boob’ and ‘but’ as ‘butt’ and ‘arts’ as ‘arse.’ Seems that contract would be sewed up if they could be assured (not ensured, and insured) the pencils would cut down on naughty doodling, and resumé draughts during office hours – being Monday through Friday, with overtime as might be needed – but it seems the weekends are newsless if you follow CBC online. I am so sick of lazy assed CBC employees whining, when all we seem to get for ‘news’ are press release rewrites lately. FFS – your audience is actually working in a competitive workplace – try it on!

  10. Allan
    Posted July 19, 2007 at 3:43 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And what of the reverse?
    What can CBC’ers get that Canadians can’t?
    Ratings?
    What else?
    Good one, Ouimet.
    I’m guessing no Raymi The Minx at work, eh?

  11. Anonymous
    Posted July 18, 2007 at 7:59 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    thanks Ouimet, this is the type of blog we’ve come to rely on….
    you’ve been slacking lately….the allan crap has been quite boring and annoying….mind you, less so than the Joe Clarke stuff – kinda made you wish he returned to politics – anyhow, keep it up…

    also, anonymous 2 is right, junkmail blocking is horrible in GroupWise…Rogers much better…sad….

  12. Anonymous
    Posted July 18, 2007 at 9:31 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    personally, I would be much much happier if they could find a way to block junkmail in GroupWise. How come I have more junkmail handling option in the terrible Hotmail than I do with CBC email?

  13. Anonymous
    Posted July 18, 2007 at 6:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I can get to officiallyscrewed.com. No WebSense blocking…

    Now, sinfest.net is blocked. A comic strip! With bad words! Oooooh!


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